The Testing

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau (2013)

The Testing is about a girl named Cia who lives in a rural colony in future America. Every year the smartest and most talented students are chosen to take the testing, in order to determine who the future leaders of the country will be. To be selected for the testing is an honor and the family is compensated for sending off their teen. Cia’s dad had previously gone through the testing and before she leaves for Tosu, the main city, he warns her to be careful, because while he no longer remembers what happens during the testing process, he has nightmares that haunt him about what might have happened.

So, I read this book on a recommendation from a friend who said he liked it better than The Hunger Games. I’ve also seen lots of reviews stating that this book is a rip-off of The HG. While I like The HG more, I will add that this book made more¬†sense¬†than the HG did. Initially, about twenty pages into the book, I was texting my friend and saying “dude, this is a total rip-off of The HG”. His response, “keep reading.” While there are many similarities between the two series, The Testing is more about Cia’s discovery of the terrible state in which her country is run and her horror at the lack of human capacity during the testing. The Hunger Games is also more about government revenge on those who rebelled and keeping people on place, while The Testing is the government searching for answers, and the characters are not specifically fighting each other to survive.

The book brought into question what the good qualities of a leader are, mostly because that’s why these characters were being tested, to find a future leader. The characters were often wondering what choices previous leaders of the country had to make and why they made them.

“Maybe that’s the mark of a real leader. Admitting a mistake has been made and finding a way to stop it at all costs.”

“The best leaders never makes the same mistakes again. The only way you can learn is if you understand the mistakes that were made.”

I ended up staying awake until almost 2 am to finish the book once I got rolling with it. I woke up early the next morning to complete it before heading into work. The one thing I did not love about this book was the romantic story line between Cia and childhood friend Tomas, it felt sort of forced and quick. I prefer a well developed and (somewhat) slow build up to romance. Plus, Tomas was a bit one-dimensional and not very interesting to me. His description was basically that he was good looking and smart. Give the reader something else to go on!

So basically, this book was very intriguing and captivating. I do not want to give too much away, but the reader will remain breathless until the end trying to figure out the results of the testing for all of the characters involved.

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Broken and Screwed

Broken and Screwed (The BS Series) by Tijan

So without giving away too much, B&S is the story of Alex, a seventeen year old girl whose life was torn apart the night that her brother died in a car accident. Many months have passed since then, and Alex has lost her parents as well to depression and many of her friends have let her be and moved on with their own lives. The spirit of Alex’s brother haunts her wherever she goes, except for when his best friend Jesse is around. Together, they ignite, but Jesse always leaves her afterwards, too broken himself to offer anything of value.

I’ve read the Fallen Crest series by Tijan and enjoyed that (both of these series are total guilty pleasure reads), so when I saw this author had another series, I figured I should just go for it. This book BLEW ME AWAY. At this point, it’s the best book I’ve read by this author. I loved how complicated and conflicted Alex was, even though she worked so hard not to show that side of herself to anyone. Jesse was a true dick, but he’s that bad boy you can’t help but to root for. The relationship between the two was difficult and a little messed up, and while Alex always hoped for more, she understood that Jesse could not give her what she wanted, so she didn’t ask him to.

I liked how aware Alex was of herself, she’s a very well developed and well written character. From my perspective, Alex always had hope for how things could be for her, even if she could never admit it out loud or let herself believe that good things would come for her.

“People didn’t find the love they had, not really. And if they did, they were lucky, incredibly so.”

Unlike the Fallen Crest series, this book focused a lot less on clique politics, which for me was a giant relief. Instead of figuring out why who hated who, I was able too read about the characters I was invested in, which is why I think I enjoyed this book much more than Tijan’s other series. And for the most part, Alex had the wonderful support of her friends to get through the challenges she faced. Alex in return accepted her friends for who they were, and if she couldn’t she did her best to overlook it.

I would rate this book 5 out of 5 stars, it was riveting and I devoured it within a matter of hours. I had to run to the public library down the street from where I was working when I finished it so I could use the wifi to purchase and download the next book! Tijan is now on my auto-buy list, I will read anything this author has to offer.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD!!! BE WARY!!

I cannot believe what a**holes Alex’s parents were to her. Like, I literally cannot comprehend how they could just leave her behind. And f**k her friends for what they did in the end. Seriously.